"An Arlington Hobo" - A Coffee Shop Conversation by Colin G.

Colin's Coffee conversation 9/23/13


"Hey man, check out this video." 

As I general rule, I do not check out what other people want me to watch on Youtube. As the only person working at Colin's Coffee, if I say yes once, it would set a precedent and most of my day would disappear being called to table after table watching endless loops of skateboard videos and clips of elephants that can brush their teeth.  So I usually just politely respond, "No, I am not going to check out your video. No offense, I just don't watch other people's Youtube clips."

But every once and a while I'll let my guard down and take a gander. I figure it's part is my penance for forcing hundreds of unsuspecting late-night visitors to sit through Cheap Trick Live at Navy Pier on VHS back in the day.

On this cool, cloudy Thursday morning I glanced at an I-phone to see a clip of what looked like a uni-bomber type character quickly filming his face and then a shot down of railroad tracks from the moving train he was apparently riding on.

He explained, "That's my buddy. We graduated together from U.A. He is a hobo now. That is him hopping a train from Portland down to Sacramento." 

It seemed odd to me that a hobo would take the time to post this clip from a semi-expensive piece of technology, but what do I know about the state of hobos circa 2013? Maybe they all roll with I-phones. I suppose the GPS and train schedule app would be pretty helpful.

 "Yeah, him and his son just hop trains and travel all around the country. it's pretty dangerous because if they get caught it is a federal crime".

"His son? How old is his son?" I asked.


"Oh," was all I could muster. My brain came up empty for a response to make sense of  this new piece of information.

"Yeah, they just hop trains and sometimes play music to make some money to fill their bellies. I really admire their courage. I'm pretty jealous. What an awesome life." 

"I have to imagine the hobo lifestyle has its downside as well." 

"Not for these guys, if they ever get in serious trouble they just bust out the debit card." 

"What do you mean? Do they have money?" 

"Oh yeah, he is loaded. Inherited a ton of cash." 

"Uh, dude, I don't think your friend is a hobo, I think he is just a rich guy fucking around."


Colin Gawel works at Colin's Coffee and plays in the band Watershed. Sometimes he writes things for Pencilstorm.